Poll law expert: Where should the President submit his resignation?
“But to whom should (President Rodrigo) Duterte submit his resignation as President?”
This was the question posed by an election law expert on Monday after Mr. Duterte dared Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales to resign with him.
“There is no problem as to whom Sereno and Morales would submit their resignations in case they accept Duterte’s challenge. It could be submitted to President Duterte since they were appointed by the latter,” Atty. Romulo Macalintal said in a statement.
“But to whom should Duterte submit his resignation as President? There is no provision in the Constitution that specifically provides for the official authorized to receive the resignation of the President and when such resignation would be effective,” he added.
In the United States (US), according to Macalintal, the President submits his resignation to the Secretary of State, and that such resignation becomes effective upon the receipt of the resignation letter.
“When President Nixon resigned as President of the United States on August 9, 1974, he submitted a one-sentence resignation letter stating ‘I hereby resign the Office of President of United States’ addressed to then US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger,” Macalintal noted.
The election lawyer said that while the Philippine Constitution provides that the Vice President shall assume the presidency in case the President resigns, it does not indicate the manner or procedure for the President’s resignation.
“It also provides for the designation of the Vice President as ‘Acting President’ in case of inability of the President to discharge his functions and the re-assumption by the President of his office once the ‘inability no longer exists’,” Macalintal also said.
He then noted the case of former President Joseph Estrada, who has claimed that he did not resign as President.
“And true enough there was no letter of resignation of Estrada addressed to any official authorized to receive his resignation. But the Supreme Court ruled that there were ‘prior events that built up the irresistible pressure for Estrada to resign’ and there were direct statements and acts of Estrada ‘which can be categorized as admissions’ of his resignation, such as, his calling for snap election, his statement ‘pagod na pagod na ako’, and his abandonment of Malacañang Palace,” Macalintal explained.
Consequently, Macalintal suggested that a law should be crafted to specifically designate an official authorized to receive a President’s resignation, and when such resignation should be deemed effective.
Last Saturday, Duterte challenged Morales and Sereno to resign with him as the Office of the Ombudsman conducts an investigation into the alleged unexplained wealth of Mr. Duterte’s family.
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